HENDERSONVILLE – Rep. Madison Cawthorn, talking at a Henderson County Republican gathering, clarified his stance on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky after his feedback calling Zelensky a “thug” and the Ukrainian authorities “extremely evil” drew worldwide consideration and condemnation.
Cawthorn in a March 19 tackle to the Henderson County Males’s Membership and afterward on the cellphone mentioned regardless of his earlier statements he didn’t assume Zelensky was morally equal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However the 26-year-old Donald Trump-aligned congressman from Western North Carolina declined to name Putin a conflict legal, one thing President Joe Biden has achieved.
In different feedback, Cawthorn mentioned former Trump Chief of Workers and ex-WNC congressman Mark Meadows is “an important American,” although he’s going through a voter fraud investigation. He additionally defended his social media use and frequent journey across the nation after main opponent state Sen. Chuck Edwards mentioned Cawthorn was extra involved in rising his “Instagram following” than governing.
Giant parts of his feedback have been laced with excessive language describing a religious battle with opponents in Washington — whom he mentioned needed to destroy the nation — and assaults from reporters whom he known as communists.
Clarifying “thug” remark, fighter jets
In a video recorded purportedly at a March 5 occasion in Asheville, Cawthorn mentioned Zelensky was a thug and the Ukrainian authorities was corrupt and evil, drawing widespread criticism, together with from Republicans.
Talking by cellphone after the March 19 Henderson County Males’s Membership assembly, Cawthorn mentioned he didn’t see Zelensky and Putin as on the identical degree.
“There may be positively one aggressor right here,” he mentioned. Putin, Cawthorn mentioned, was appearing as if he was “demonically possessed.”
Cawthorn didn’t stroll again the thug remark and once more mentioned Ukraine was “one of the corrupt international locations.” That was due to misinformation Ukraine was spreading that might draw the U.S. right into a conflict, he has mentioned.
Whereas Cawthorn mentioned Putin “illegally and immorally invaded Ukraine” he mentioned he was not able to name Putin a conflict legal and wanted to higher perceive the authorized definition. Biden branded the Russian president a conflict legal after Ukrainian civilian deaths, such because the bombing of a maternity hospital and a bread line.
In Cawthorn’s official statements and social media posts on the invasion he has warned of the US “lurching into conflict” and mentioned he supported sanctions however didn’t define particular stances. On March 19 he took some steps towards that, saying he supported sending Ukrainians weapons able to taking pictures down Russian army planes. Requested by cellphone about Poland’s request to assist ship MiG fighter jets to Ukraine, Cawthorn mentioned he feared that might create a bigger battle between the west and Russia, a view shared by Biden.
Cawthorn, although, didn’t completely rule out the thought and mentioned he would search to be taught extra about it.
In different feedback, he mentioned a weakening of the greenback was a explanation for the invasion, in search of in charge Biden for that and inflation. The usshould search vitality independence by permitting “each single lease for drilling, he mentioned.
Mark Meadows voter fraud investigation
Requested by an attendee about widespread voter fraud within the 2020 presidential election — a idea that has been discredited in courts, together with by Trump-appointed judges however that continues to be pushed by some prime Republicans — Cawthorn spoke about impartial efforts to verify voter rolls for future elections.
In a follow-up query by the Citizen Occasions concerning the investigation into Meadows, Cawthorn mentioned he was not accustomed to it.
The March 17 announcement of a State Bureau of Investigation probe into Meadows voter registration made nationwide information. It got here after revelations Meadows used the tackle of a single-wide cellular residence to vote absentee from Macon County, although he by no means owned the house, and the house owners and neighbors mentioned they by no means noticed him there.
Meadows has been a key proponent of the concept that Trump misplaced the election due to voter fraud.
When requested if Meadows needs to be investigated, Cawthorn mentioned, “I do not know something about that. However I’ll let you know, I feel Mark Meadows is a good American. He did an important job as chief of workers to the President United States. And I genuinely imagine he’ll be chief of workers when Donald Trump runs once more.”
‘Looking for to achieve a political profession’
The congressman confronted stinging criticism — earlier than he spoke — from Edwards, certainly one of eight together with Cawthorn operating within the eleventh District U.S. Home main.
Edwards, who like Cawthorn is from the GOP powerhouse of Henderson County, mentioned he agreed the district wanted to ship “a fighter” to Washington, however there have been two differing kinds, “these which might be filled with phrases that simply whip up crowds which might be in search of to achieve a political profession and enhance their Instagram following and there are fighters like me, which have really gotten issues achieved in authorities.”
Edwards pointed to his legislative work to decrease earnings taxes, punish cities that sought to defund police and outlaw sanctuary cities the place undocumented immigrants confronted much less menace of deportation.
Cawthorn mentioned since 2020 his workplace had handled 1,600 constituent points, helped cross payments to permit veterans to get stipends for his or her households whereas they have been pursuing levels or coaching and introduced $74 million in grants again to the district for factor similar to municipal infrastructure. It was not clear if these grants have been a part of the $1.9 million COVID aid package deal which Cawthorn voted towards.
Cawthorn mentioned he used social media and his journey across the nation, one thing that drew flak from former GOP presidential advisor Karl Rove, to encourage younger folks.
“Generally I get attacked for my social media following. Generally I get attacked as a result of I spend about 10% of my time not within the district or not in Washington, D.C., however going across the nation to avoid wasting my technology from communism and from socialism.”
He mentioned he “knew he was doing his job” when criticized by mainstream media, together with the Citizen Occasions “as a result of they’ve a communist agenda.”
Joel Burgess has lived in WNC for greater than 20 years, overlaying politics, authorities and different information. He is written award-winning tales on subjects starting from gerrymandering to police use of pressure. Acquired a tip? Contact Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.org, 828-713-1095 or on Twitter @AVLreporter. Please assist assist such a journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Occasions.